is a trans-Neptunian object
currently about three times as far from the Sun as Neptune
. For the majority of its orbit it is the most distant known object in the Solar System
other than long-period comets
. Roughly two-thirds the size of Pluto
, Sedna is hypothetically large enough to be rounded by its own gravity, and thus would qualify as a dwarf planet
under current definitions. However, its distance makes determining its shape difficult. Spectroscopy
has revealed that Sedna's surface composition is similar to that of some other trans-Neptunian objects, being largely a mixture of water, methane
, and nitrogen ices
. Its surface is one of the reddest in the Solar System. Its exceptionally long and elongated orbit, taking approximately 12,000 years to complete, and distant point of closest approach to the Sun have led to much speculation as to its origin. Astronomer Mike Brown
, who co-discovered Sedna in 2003, believes it to be the most scientifically important trans-Neptunian object found to date, as understanding its peculiar orbit is likely to yield valuable information about the origin and early evolution of the Solar System.
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and by far the largest within the Solar System. It is 318 times more massive than Earth, with a diameter 11 times that of Earth, and with a volume 1300 times that of Earth. Its best known feature is the Great Red Spot, a storm larger than Earth, which was first observed by Galileo four centuries ago. This picture, taken by the Cassini orbiter was one of 26 thousand images taken of Jupiter during the course of its flyby and is the most detailed global color portrait of the planet ever produced.